Texas A&M Law Review


Larisa Maxwell

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (“LGBTQ”) youth in the foster care system often face a multitude of discrimination, harassment, and abuse because of their actual or perceived homosexuality or gender identity. Mistreatment ranges from taunting to physical and sexual assaults by both other youth and staff. Certainly, this mistreatment is quite the antithesis of the safe haven that foster care placements are designed to be. There is very little legislation in place to specifically address these issues. In 2004, California’s Foster Care Nondiscrimination Act became the first act to provide explicit statutory protections from grievances based on sexual orientation or gender identity, among other protected classes. Recently, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act was proposed for the third time in the United States House of Representatives. The Act was designed to bar inequity in adoption and foster care placements due to either the prospective parent’s or child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or the prospective parent’s marital status. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee, meeting the same fate as its predecessors. This Comment describes the strengths and shortcomings of both Acts and illustrates the immediate need to enact comprehensive statutory protections for youth in the foster care system who face discrimination and harassment based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Legislation should be enacted to help insulate these already marginalized youth from continuing harm.

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